Labour’s hope to be seen as the most pro‑war party reached new heights last week as Keir Starmer and shadow defence secretary John Healey visited Nato troops in the Baltic state of Estonia.
Starmer was on a mission to drive home his party’s unconditional support for Nato—even if that means a far wider war. The Labour leader met with Estonia’s defence minister as well the colonel that commands the Nato “Enhanced Forward Presence” in the country. In a carefully choreographed photoshoot at the Tapa military base Starmer had himself pictured speaking to soldiers in front of a tank specially draped in his hallmark union jack flag.
And, habitually Starmer offered support to the Tories, saying this was “no time for party politics.” “We are talking to the troops about their operations and taking the opportunity to thank them for the work they are doing,” he told reporters. He added that Labour wants to express its “unshakeable commitment to Nato”. It’s telling that the only difference that Starmer has with the government is that he finds its sanctions against Russia are “too slow” and don’t go far enough.
Starmer said, “I support what they (the Tories) are doing and we voted for these sanctions to go through, but we do want a Government to go further and faster, and not be so slow. “At the moment the most immediate and important thing is that we have the most effective sanctions in place not just to isolate Russia but to cripple Russia’s ability to function.”
Far from an alternative to war sanctions can be a softening-up exercise designed as a precursor to military intervention. Healey has said he expected to see a “big boost to defence” in the Tory budget next week and that the government “must respond to increased threats to our security in Europe”. Labour’s support for Nato expansion and aggression is a call for war escalation.
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